2003 Wildfire Season Starts


It is only mid-May and the Mogollon Rim wildfire season has already started.

Three small fires, caused by abandoned campfires, were fought by forest service personnel this weekend.

According to Assistant Fire Management Officer Dan Eckstein of the Payson Ranger Station there was a 2/10th acre fire May 9 near the Houston Mesa Camp Ground; a 1/10th acre fire off Diamond Point Road on May 11; and an acre fire outside Whispering Pines May 12.

The May 12 blaze was called the Bray Fire, Eckstein said. It was three miles west of Whispering Pines, about 200 yards off the Forest Service Road 348.

"We were lucky it was real calm this morning," Eckstein said of Monday's fire.

He said there is some talk of instituting fire and smoking restrictions in Rim area forests in the near future, but nothing definite has been put in place.

"Make sure campfires are not left unattended and are dead out when you leave. You should be able to touch the ashes and coals with your bare hand," he said.

When building a fire ring, Eckstein advises campers to clear a 10-foot area around the ring. He said campers should clear the area to the mineral soil.

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